Markus Guentner

Audio Island

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Markus Guentner's second album lands the producer on Mathias Schaffhäuser's Ware label, and the results are much different than his debut full-length, In Moll. Audio Island consists mainly of beat-dominated tech-house productions so smooth and lush that they might as well be called neo-trance. These tracks stand in stark contrast to In Moll's billowy tufts of ambient, mainly due to the grooves; while a couple In Moll tracks feature lightly thumping, brain-massaging 4/4 beats, most of the tracks here are made explicitly for the dancefloor. A handful of tracks, especially the opening "Lost Paradise" and "Sleep Well" (the track titles appear to relate to the theme alluded to in the album's title), feature the kind of pinpoint precision and dark undercurrents that Swayzak's Dirty Dancing thrived on. "Such a Shame," a Talk Talk cover featuring Dana Grey in the role of Mark Hollis, is easily Guentner's most overt flirtation with mainstream dance music. It comes dangerously close to entering Pure Moods territory, as in "let's follow this up with some Enigma." "So Well" (featuring Acid Maria's slightly anemic voice) and "Hooked on Monkey Phonics" open it up even more with rhythms that are hardly subtle compared to most of his Germanic house brethren.

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